Shell LiveWIRE Virtual Homeroom’s second leg discusses the value of creating meaningful connections between businesses and their partners and customers. Present during the mentoring session: Upper row, from L: Serge Bernal, Pilipinas Shell’s Vice President of Corporate Relations; RJ Ledesma, Host. Bottom row, from L: Prosperna CEO Dennis Velasco and Noreen Bautista, CEO of Panublix.
Partnerships are vital to business growth, especially in the digital age which has made the creation of connections faster, more accessible, and complete with information. This was the core lesson highlighted in the second leg of 2022’s Shell LiveWIRE Virtual Homeroom on August 25, 2022, which trains budding entrepreneurs and owners of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) how to improve their services and scale.
Two successful entrepreneurs shared their insights and lessons on how building robust, long-standing relationship networks can forge a stronger supply chain for greater business success: Dennis Velasco, CEO of Prosperna, an online eCommerce platform that provides Philippine MSMEs with a virtual stone front; and Noreen Bautista, CEO of Panublix Innovations Inc., a collaborative sourcing tool connecting designers and brands to tropical textiles and artisan crafts practicing sustainability.
Forging business partnerships
Serge Bernal, Pilipinas Shell’s Vice President of Corporate Relations, explained the program’s vision of nurturing the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs: “Pilipinas Shell has been a partner in the Philippines for over 108 years and we remain committed to helping Filipino startups and enterprises adapt, innovate, and thrive,” said Bernal. “Through the partnerships forged, we can do our share in building a better future for the country. Together we can keep moving the Philippines forward.”
Bautista, who began her first social enterprise in senior college, pointed out that corporate success is related to societal relevance which affects other organizations.
That synergy can help grow the livelihood communities where she has been working for 10 years. “The growth in their business has not been as fast as it could have been,” she said. “It’s really a systemic issue about SME development where micro-businesses don’t scale into medium businesses. That is the kind of social issue I want to address.”
Bautista also emphasized that a goal and mission can strengthen businesses through the more tumultuous times. “Have clarity of your visions, at the end of the day, with the highs and lows of the start-up life,” she said. “Once you have that ‘north star— the why—you can figure out the how.”.
Designing digital connections
Meanwhile, Velasco discussed that advocacies beyond the business concerns draw in like-minded partners. “When you can create a mission, that will create a following,” he said. “Without a following or community, it’s hard to make and sell anything. Advocacy is an investment into your brand: 43% of consumers will buy from a brand that they can connect with through an advocacy.”
He also exhorted startup owners to put the necessary effort into finding the “best kind of partnership for your business, then empower your partner ecosystem. Do the hard work documenting the goals and invest in technology to go fast.”
Through the partnerships, businesses can increase access to new customers “because 92% of people trust recommendations from people they know. Don’t try to grow your business by yourself. Everybody is looking for a friend in the business world.”
Homeroom Sessions’ 3rd leg
Shell LiveWIRE is a premier community and tech start-up accelerator in the Philippines and Pilipinas Shell’s flagship global enterprise development program. It provides a platform where thriving visionary founders can pitch their innovative ideas, and make their business designs viable, readily scalable, and attractive to investors. Since 2020, more than 700 bright young Filipino innovators, including community and social enterprises, have been drawn to Shell LiveWIRE, with more than 20 successful startups receiving support through training, mentoring, and capital funding.
The third and final leg of the Shell LiveWIRE Virtual Homeroom will be on September 8, 2022, and will highlight how brands can increase their influence by creating a digital footprint. The previous leg, which was held on August 18, 2022, discussed the growth mindset with diversity and inclusion as a key to organizational growth and improvement.
With Shell LiveWIRE an ongoing annual program, business and enterprise owners can pre-register for the 2023 Shell LiveWIRE competition, as well as the next Shell LiveWIRE Homeroom sessions, at http://www.shell.com.ph/LiveWIRE
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